Rubus idaeus L.

Order - Rosales

Family: Rosaceae



Other Names:


A deciduous shrub with red berries.


See the Weedy Blackberry and Rose key.




Stipules -
Petiole - to 70 mm long.
Leaflets 3 or 5, arranged pinnately, no lateral petiolules (leaflets sessile), terminal petiolule 15-32 mm long; basal leaflet pair not lobed;
Blade - terminal leaflet 40-100(120) mm long, 30-50(100) mm wide, egg shaped, base rounded to notched (subcordate), margin double toothed (biserrate), apex pointed (acuminate), lower surface grey-white, densely minutely felted, lamina obscured.


Primocanes erect or inclined, rounded; Hairs (indumentum) lacking or of dense, fine, non-glandular pilose hairs; white waxy covering not present with age; prickles either lacking or (0.5)1-2.5 mm long, straight or curved, declined, not confined to the angles, 30-150 per 50 mm length.

Flower head:

Inflorescence a series of short, c. 200 mm long, stems from the upper leaf axils of the primocane, each terminating in a sub-corymbose raceme of 3-10 flowers, the first-formed flowers usually solitary in the axils of a 3 leaflet leaf; basal floral leaves of 3 leaflets, with petiole 20-40 mm long, lateral petiolules 0 mm long (sessile), terminal petiolule 10-28 mm long, terminal leaflet 50-120 mm long, 40-80 mm wide. Mature pedicels 20-30 mm long; rachis indumentum of sparse non-glandular pilose hairs.


Ovary - Style terminal.
Sepals - 5, overlapping. Armed or not, densely non-glandular pubescent, reflexed or, if not reflexed, enclosing the base of the fruit, apex apiculate.
Petals - 5, white, elliptic to lance shaped, 5-7 mm long, 2-4 mm wide, not touching, not crumpled, not cupped, apex rounded.
Stamens - Many, shorter than styles; filaments white;
Anthers - without pilose hairs.


Young carpels densely white pubescent.
Red berry formed from a clusters of many small, succulent, red drupes.
Fruit separating from receptacle and hollow.



Key Characters:

Leaves pinnate, with 3, 5 or 7 pairs of leaflets and maybe shortly petiolate.
Upper and lower leaf surfaces different, grey felted below.
Primocanes with no thorns or very tiny ones.
Petals white, shorter than sepals.
Sepals not recurved in fruit.
Fruits red, falling without receptacle (hollow).
Young carpels densely grey-pubescent.
Adapted from Robyn and Bill Barker.


Life cycle:

Perennial deciduous shrub.


Sensitive to hot winds.


By suckers.

Flowering times:

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:



A number of commercial cultivars exist.


Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Mainly spread by intentional planting of suckers.

Origin and History:

Eastern Asia. Temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Europe.
Origins are unclear because of its long time use in cultivation. Some give it a Eurasian origin while others consider it also to be native to North America.


Cultivated in the cooler areas of the southern states. Naturalised populations, presumably escapees from cultivation, have been recorded in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium.



Temperate. Cool to cold sheltered areas.


Prefers loams to heavy soils.

Plant Associations:



Fruit eaten fresh or used to make conserves and juice.


Weed of disturbed areas


Not recorded as toxic.



Management and Control:

Goats provide a method of non-chemical control. Infested areas are grazed with 7.5 goats per ha in the first year, then 1.25 goats per ha in subsequent years.
Slashing alone is generally ineffective.
Multiple cultivations provide control but may lead to erosion and soil structure problems.
Scalping to 30 cm and root raking can be effective but may require a follow up with other control measures to control re-shooting root and stem fragments and seedlings. Rehabilitation of the site is often required to prevent reinfestation.
Mechanical removal, or slashing and burning followed by cultivation, can provide control if repeated regularly and then followed by planting of a competitive, preferably perennial, pasture species that is grazed.
Seedlings rarely establish in dense pasture or undisturbed native vegetation.
Improving pasture management usually prevents reinfestation.
Control with herbicides is usually the most cost effective. Metsulfuron (Brush Off®) and triclopyr (Garlon®) or triclopyr plus picloram (Grazon®) have provided the best results. Glyphosate can be used in home gardens or other sensitive areas. Apply herbicides when the plant is actively growing and has good leaf area.
Basal bark applications using Access® plus diesel can be used where canes are removed mechanically.
Dead stems may be burnt or slashed in the following season to allow access and rehabilitation of the site.
Fire provides little control alone but assists access for herbicide application or other controls.
In Pine plantations hexazinone can be used.
Follow up treatments are essential for high levels of control.
Low volume spraying is usually effective providing the amount of active ingredient applied per bush is kept constant.
For high volume spraying use 1 litre of mix for each 2.5 cubic metres of bush (or 2.5 square metres of low lying bush). This is equivalent to about 4000 L/ha of spray mix being applied.
In large infestations, consider using the cheaper metsulfuron for a year or two to reduce the size of the infestation then follow up with the more effective and costly triclopyr + picloram herbicides.


Eradication strategies:

Mechanical control is difficult and most of the root system must be removed for effective control.
3 annual, summer applications of 1 L of Grazon® plus 250 mL of Pulse® Penetrant in 100 L of water generally gives very high levels of control. Replant native species after control has been achieved or establish a competitive, and preferably perennial, pasture species then graze to prevent seedlings establishing.
On large infestations, 10 g metsulfuron(600g/kg) plus 250 mL Pulse® Penetrant in 100 L water, applied in summer when the plant is actively growing, provides a cheaper option to reduce the size of the infestation before Grazon® is used.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:

Main pests include Aphids, Bud Mites, Light Brown Apple Moth and Thrips.
Diseases include Anthracnose, Crown Gall, Grey Mould, Leaf Spot, Orange Rust and White Root Rot.

Related plants:

There are no native Rubus species in WA.
Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans = Rubus discolor = Rubus procerus, Rubus fruticosus, Rubus ulmifolius)
Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans) is the main weedy variety in WA. Its main flowering is in December to January and it has white flowers (though it may be pinkish in the bud). The leaves tend to be whitish on the lower surface.
Boysenberry is a cross between a Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), a Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), an American Dewberry (Rubus aboriginum) and a Loganberry (Rubus × loganobaccus). It has narrow straight thorns.
California Dewberry (Rubus ursinus) is not naturalised in Australia.
Cutleaf Blackberry (Rubus laciniatus ssp. laciniatus) has cut leaf - see diagram.
Dewberry (Rubus roribaccus) is in NSW and Victoria.
Elmleaf Blackberry (Rubus ulmifolius) has pinkish petals and smaller leaves than R. anglocandicans. Some varieties are thornless.
Keriberry (Rubus rugosus) has leaves that are green on top and whitish underneath and roundish canes covered in brown hairs.
Kittatinny Blackberry (Rubus bellobatus)
Loganberry (Rubus loganobaccus, Rubus x loganobaccus) has narrow straight thorns and usually flowers later than blackberry.
Mountain Raspberry (Rubus gunnianus)
Native Raspberry (Rubus hillii = Rubus moluccanus var. trilobus A.R.Bean) is a native of the east coast of Australia and has simple palmately lobed leaves
that tend to be green on the upper an lower surfaces. The flowers are white with no pink tinges there are glandular hairs on the canes that look like red dots under a hand lens.
Plains or Bundy (American) Blackberry (Rubus laudatus) flowers in September to November with fruit in December - somewhat earlier than Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
Rose-leaved Bramble (Rubus rosifolius) is a native plant of the east coast of Australia.
Thimbleberry (Rubus parvifolius, Rubus rosifolius) is a native plant of the east coast of Australia and Tasmania. It has almost stalkless leaflets with the upper side being green and the underside almost white. The flowers are pink to red flowers on 2-3 cm stalks.
Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)
Yellow Raspberry (Rubus ellipticus)
Rubus alceifolius
Rubus chloocladus
Rubus cissburiensis
Rubus discolor = Rubus procerus is not in Australia but the older literature refers to R. anglocandicans as R. discolor in Western Australia and R. procerus in the eastern states.
Rubus koehleri
Rubus leightonii
Rubus odoratus is similar to Thimbleberry and occurs in SA and Tasmania.
Rubus polyanthemus
Rubus pyramidalis
Rubus radula
Rubus rosaceus
Rubus selmeri = R. laciniatus
Rubus vestitus

Apple (Pirus malus), Pear (Pirus communis), Quince (Cydonia vulgaris), Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), Plum (Prunus domestica), Apricot (Prunus armeniaca), Almond (Prunus amygdalus), Peach (Prunus persica) and Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) are all in the same family as Raspberry.

Plants of similar appearance:

See the Weedy Blackberry and Rose key.
Climbing Roses.


Barker, Robyn and Barker, Bill (2005). Blackberry. An identification tool to introduced and native Rubus in Australia. Edition 1.00. State Herbarium of South Australia.

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P396.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #1070.7.

Reid, R.L. (1990) The Manual of Australian Agriculture. (Butterworths, Sydney). P173.


Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information.